Winnipeg country singer Keith Dyck says the more comfortable he is, the more he feels like he can do what he does. And nothing is more comfortable than playing in the home of a new friend.
On Sept. 20, Dyck and fellow Manitoban Duane Dueck are performing in the living room of Lloydminster resident Rhonda Burns as part of the Home Routes house concert tour. Home Routes is a Manitoba arts organization which has established house concert circuits across the country, where musicians perform in a host’s living room. The duo is playing the first show in a series of six concerts Burns will host in her home.
“It’s two guys with a couple of acoustic guitars and we’re going to have a heck of a lot of fun together,” Dyck said.
This is Dyck’s second time taking part in the Home Routes tour. He participated two years ago, touring parts of northern and central Alberta.
“It’s amazing actually, they’re probably the best gigs anyone can ever have. People are really listening and paying attention,” Dyck said regarding the house concerts.
“They’re sitting right two feet away from you and when you look out at the audience it’s like looking at sea of jewels because the eyes are all staring at you.”
He says the audience can be shrouded in darkness in bigger venues, and when playing in bars the crowd is more likely to be distracted and have to be won over. Dyck says the connection between performer and audience is more immediate at a house concert.
“Here it’s a done deal,” he said. “Just walk in and start taking out the love and spreading it around.”
Each night in the tour Dyck and Dueck are welcomed into a different stranger’s house, but by the time the evening rolls around and the crowd has gone home, or during breakfast the next day, he says the performers and hosts feel like old friends.
“In my experience I just kept meeting nicer and nice people, so it kind of does something to your worldview,” he said.
Dyck and Dueck will be playing a mix of Americana, blues and country tunes. The two have known each other for a while but commitments to other bands kept them from playing together for an audience.
“We’ve been playing together off and on but not in public, lots of porch-picking together,” he said. “Now recently we’ve done a couple of gigs together and went, ‘Well this is cool, why don’t we do this more often?’ “
Tickets are $20 and are available by calling Rhonda Burns atÂ 780-872-1478.